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Pigskin by David Hartley - 30 pages


Something strange is happening to the animals on the farm.


A pig becomes bacon, chickens grow breadcrumbs, a cow turns to leather, a goat excretes cheese. As food becomes scarce and the looming ‘pot-bellies’ threaten to invade the safety of the sty, Pig knows he must get to the bottom of this strange phenomenon or face imminent death. Reminiscent of Animal Farm and darkly satirical, David Hartley interrogates the ethics of farming and the potential problems of genetic engineering, asking important questions about our relationship to the food – or animals – we eat.


“Pigskin is a knife-sharp, knowing fable about animal instincts and human ingenuity. David Hartley has a gift for creating stories that leave scars.”

- Aliya Whiteley, author of  The Loosening Skin




“What is it?” says Goat, but the animals say nothing.
More appear. It is a mournful procession. Horse,
Duck, all the Geese and the Sheep, every head bowed, every
step careful. They make space for each other and wait. The
creaks sound again, like muscle tearing, like bone rubbing.
Cow appears. Each step is too much effort. Her breaths
billow white plumes which caress her wrinkled face. Pig bites
hard, tastes himself, tastes how delicious he is and nearly retches.
Cow is made from leather. Seams trace across her like
knife attacks.
“You will let us in Pig,” she says, and Pig sees the
tongue has changed too.
Pig stands firm. He wants to shake his head.

Pigskin by David Hartley

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